Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
July 29, 2002
Last Updated :
June 9, 2013
Materialization Of Angels In The Physical Realm, Entertaining Angels Unawares, Intervention By Angels In Human Affairs, The Function Of Angels, Messengers And Scouts, Malak And Aggelos, Appearances Of Angels In Human History Is Quite Rare, Genuine Faith Does Not Require Signs And Manifestations, There Shall No Sign Be Given, Though One Rose From The Dead, The Reality Of Guardian Angels, Newborn Infants And Having The Faith Of A Little Child, Angel Gabriel Is One Of God's Mighty Celestial Messengers, Zacharias Mary And The Prophet Daniel, Gabriel's Status As An Archangel, Seven Angels Stand In God's Presence, Michael Is A Warrior Archangel Who Fights The Lord's Battles, Physical Nature Of Angelic Encounters, Abram's Three Angelic Guests, Before Abraham Was I Am, Lot's Two Dinner Guests And Escape From Sodom, Jacob's All-Night Angelic Wrestling Match, Did Jacob See God Or An Angel, No Man Has Seen God At Any Time
Let us return now to our discussion regarding the nature of the bodies of Angels. I will be the first to admit that I do not fully understand this topic. From everything that I have read in the Bible regarding this subject, it is my personal understanding that while Angels may be spiritual in nature, they do possess the ability to materialize in the physical realm of mortal men. Thus, the events which we discussed in part one. Furthermore, while it is not their natural state, they can appear so similar to ourselves, that they can even walk amongst us, and we would not even know it. As I mention in the series "Great Cloud of Witnesses: God's Holy Ghosts?", Celestial Beings are sometimes permitted by God to intervene in our lives, if it will help to promote His overall Plan in some way. Many of my readers will no doubt be familiar with the following verse that is found in the thirteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews:
"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
Hebrews 13:2, KJV
Based on the evidence which we find in the Bible, it appears that one of the primary functions of Angels is to serve as envoys -- or messengers -- and scouts, for the Lord. In fact, in the Old Testament, the word "angel" is translated from the Hebrew word "malak". Pronounced mal-awk', this word signifies a messenger or representative. In the New Testament, the word "angel" is translated from the Greek word "aggelos". It too means a messenger or an envoy.
According to the Scriptures, the intervention of Angels in human affairs has for the most part been quite rare; or at least the written record of such encounters has been rare. While it may seem to the modern reader that appearances by Angels in the Scriptures were common, we need to take into consideration the fact that we are reading four thousand years of human history in compact form. In other words, it is very easy for us to lose sight of the fact that there are actually very great time gaps between many of the events we read about in God's Word.
My impression is that our Heavenly Father uses His resources very wisely, and that He only allows Angels to appear in our physical realm on very special occasions. For example, if we were to ask the Lord to reveal our personal Guardian Angel to us, I am doubtful that He would allow this to happen, because there is really no need for it. Not only that, but it would probably totally freak us out anyway. Besides, as I explain in the article entitled "Faith and the Shroud of Turin", we Christians are supposed to walk by faith, and not by sight. In other words, we should not need or require Heavenly Signs and Wonders in order to confirm or strengthen our faith. The truth of the matter is that faith which requires signs is no faith at all. You may recall that the unbelieving Jews also demanded signs of Jesus, and He chided them for this. Please consider the following verses:
"(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)"
2 Corinthians 5:7, KJV
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1, KJV
"But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
John 20:24-29, KJV
"Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
Matthew 12:38-40, KJV
"The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed."
Matthew 16:1-4, KJV
"And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation."
Mark 8:11-12, KJV
"And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven . . . And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation."
Luke 11:16, 29-30, KJV
"Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
John 2:18-19, KJV
"Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe:"
Luke 22:67, KJV
"Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe."
John 4:48, KJV
"And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
Luke 16:31, KJV
As Jesus clearly points out in that last verse that is found in the Gospel of Luke, most of the Jews would still refuse to believe, even "though one rose from the dead". As we know from the closing chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, that is precisely how the unbelieving Jews reacted too, once they had learned about Jesus' Resurrection from the dead. Consider the following verses which expose their hypocrisy and unbelief:
"Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day."
Matthew 28:11-15, KJV
But concerning Guardian Angels, it is evident from Jesus' own words in the Gospel of Matthew that our Heavenly Father has indeed assigned a Special Protector to each one of us, as we can easily determine by the following verse:
"Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 18:10, KJV
We have all heard comments or read stories where it has been said that young babies can actually see their Guardian Angel, and that this is why they have that innocent glow to their faces. Is it possible that these infants are still capable of peering through the veil, and beholding their former Home in Heaven? Being as their spirits have only recently departed from that Beautiful Place in order to take on a body of flesh and blood, is it possible that the spiritual link hasn't been completely severed yet? Is it possible that in His Mercy, the Lord may permit this to occur in order to comfort them while they make the transition from the Spirit Realm to this one?
Even young children sometimes talk about the funny "Stranger" who only they can see. The normal reaction of adults who hear such tales is to say that it is just their imagination. They will sometimes even scold their kids and tell them to stop all the daydreaming. But what if it is real? Who are we to say how a Guardian Angel of the Lord may appear to a young child so as to not frighten him by his majestic appearance? Is it possible that when we are still very young, we all have this ability to peer into the Spirit Realm, but that as we begin to get older, grow up in the world, and become hardened by the world, that we begin to lose our childlike faith, so that we can no longer see what is actually still there? Interesting thoughts indeed. I am reminded of the following verses:
". . . Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 18:3b, KJV
". . . Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God."
Mark 10:14b, KJV
Amongst people today -- Christian and non-Christian alike -- one of the most well-known Angels who appears in the pages of the Bible is Gabriel. Many people know that Gabriel appeared to Zacharias -- the father of John the Baptist -- as well as to Mary -- the mother of Jesus -- six months later in the Gospel of Luke. Consider the following verses:
"And it came to pass, that while he [Zacharias] executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season."
Luke 1:8-20, KJV
"And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her."
Luke 1:26-38, KJV
However, a lot of people are not aware of the fact that the aforementioned incidents are not the only times that we find the Angel Gabriel performing special missions for the Lord. It was also through Gabriel's assistance that the Prophet Daniel received his wonderful visions and prophecies in the Old Testament, as we can see by the following two verses:
"And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision."
Daniel 8:16, KJV
"Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation."
Daniel 9:21, KJV
Contrary to what a lot of Christians believe, Gabriel is not specifically named as an Archangel in the King James Version of the Bible. I believe that this is an assumption that we make, because in the Gospel of Luke, Gabriel himself informs us that he stands "in the presence of God". Furthermore, in the Book of Revelation we also learn that there are in fact "seven Spirits which are before his throne", and that they are "sent forth into all the earth." As we have seen, this is exactly what the Angels do. They perform missions for God on the Earth. Thus, while Gabriel is not clearly referred to as an Archangel, there is strong Scriptural evidence to suggest that this is indeed his actual status, and that he is one of the Seven Spirits -- or Seven Angels -- who stand in the very presence of the Lord, and before the Throne of Almighty God. Consider the following amazing verses:
"And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings."
Luke 1:19, KJV
"John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;"
Revelation 1:4, KJV
"And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead."
Revelation 3:1, KJV
"And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God."
Revelation 4:5, KJV
"And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth."
Revelation 5:6, KJV
"And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets . . . And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound."
Revelation 8:2, 6, KJV
"And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God . . . And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles. And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled."
Revelation 15:1, 6-8, KJV
"And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth."
Revelation 16:1, KJV
"And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:"
Revelation 17:1, KJV
"And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife."
Revelation 21:9, KJV
In addition to Gabriel, undoubtedly another widely-known Angel of the Lord is Michael, who in fact is specifically described as being an Archangel, or a chief of the Angels. While the Angel Gabriel is primarily portrayed as an envoy of messages, Michael is definitely described as a warrior Archangel. For example, we see him fighting in the Spirit so that Daniel can receive his dreams and visions. We see him standing up for the Lord's children at the end of the age. We see him fighting with Satan in order to gain possession of the body of Moses. Finally, we see him fighting against Satan -- and defeating him -- in the Book of Revelation. Consider these verses which confirm these various points:
"But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia . . . But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince."
Daniel 10:13, 21, KJV
"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book."
Daniel 12:1, KJV
"Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee."
Jude 1:9, KJV
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
Revelation 12:7-9, KJV
Some of the other Angelic Visitations which we find mentioned in the pages of God's Word include Abram's encounter with the three Unusual Visitors on the plain of Mamre, the rescue of Lot's family by two Angelic Messengers, Jacob's night vision of the Heavenly Ladder and his all-night wrestling match with an Angel, the Heavenly Envoy who informed Manoah and his wife regarding the birth of Samson, the Captain of the Lord's Host who visited Joshua during the pivotal battle of Jericho, the awe-inspiring dreams and visions of other Prophets such as the Prophets Ezekiel and Zechariah, the Angel who prepared a meal for the Prophet Elijah, the Angel who appeared to Joseph -- the stepfather of Jesus -- in several dreams, and several Angelic Rescues which we find in the Book of Acts.
Just as the Fallen Angels appeared in a very physical form -- quite necessarily so in order that they might impregnate the beautiful women of Earth with their offspring who would become known as the Nephilim; that is, the giant children of the Fallen Ones -- in similar fashion, most of the incidents that I mentioned above took on a very physical nature. These Angelic Messengers were not just wispy clouds of transparent Spirit. They were able to be seen, heard and spoken to. They were likewise able to eat and drink. Furthermore, they could be touched, as well as touch human beings. As the following Scriptures reveal, Abram in fact requested that his Angelic Visitors wait while his wife Sarai prepared a meal for them:
"And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat."
Genesis 18:1-8, KJV
If you continue reading the previous story, you will discover that one of the three Unusual Visitors to Abram's tent that day was in fact the Lord -- meaning Jesus Christ -- while the other two individuals were apparently Angels who accompanied Him. If you doubt that this is so, then please consider the following verses, which we find in the Gospel of John, where Jesus confirms this very fact:
"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am."
John 8:56-58, KJV
At any rate, as you can see by the account in the Book of Genesis, Abram's special Guests from the Spirit Realm did in fact eat physical food. They could not possibly have done it unless they were in possession of physical bodies. Therefore, just as the Fallen Angels had done, we can only conclude that Abram's three Unusual Visitors must have materialized in real physical bodies of flesh and bone.
While the Lord apparently returned from whence He came after His visit with Abram and Sarai, this was not the case with the two Angels who accompanied Him. As we continue reading in the Book of Genesis, we discover that just prior to the awful destruction of the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot and his wife also entertained some Unique Visitors, who were the same two Angels who had accompanied the Lord. As they had done with Abram earlier, the Angels sat down and had dinner with Lot and his wife and their two daughters. Not only that, but Genesis informs us that due to Lot's vacillation, the two Angels had to physically grab them by the hand and forcefully escort them out of Sodom, so that they would not perish in the destruction of that wicked city. Consider the following verses:
"And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat."
Genesis 19:1-3, KJV
"And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city."
Genesis 19:15-16, KJV
So once again we see that these Angelic Beings were able to eat physical human food, be seen, heard and spoken to, and touch and be touched. There was no wispy spiritual essence to them whatsoever.
In the case of the Patriarch Jacob, the Book of Genesis tells us that his Angelic Encounter became quite physical. In fact, for reasons which are not made clear to us, Jacob engaged in an all-night wrestling match with his Angelic Visitor, until the Angel was finally forced to subdue Jacob by injuring his thigh. It seems odd to me that a mere human would be able to overpower an Angel of the Lord, so that the Angel was forced to resort to trickery in order to subdue Jacob. It is also unclear why the Angel told Jacob to let him go because the dawn was about to break:
"And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."
Genesis 32:24-30, KJV
In the previous verses, the name Peniel is a compound Hebrew word which means to turn to or to face God. I also find it a bit confusing that the KJV Bible has Jacob saying that he saw God face-to-face. Personally, I am not really convinced that Jacob actually wrestled with God Himself. The notion of God being defeated by a mere human is even more ludicrous than an Angel being defeated by a human. More than likely, it was an Angel, and this is what Jacob actually meant. In my view, what makes it even more unlikely that Jacob actually wrestled with God, is the fact that for him to even make such a statement concerning seeing God face-to-face would clearly contradict verses such as the following, where we are plainly told that no man has ever seen God the Father and lived:
"No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."
John 1:18, KJV
"Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, [Jesus referring to Himself] he hath seen the Father."
John 6:46, KJV
"No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us."
1 John 4:12, KJV
"These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me. And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders; And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it."
Deuteronomy 5:22-27, KJV
Please go to part three for the conclusion of this series.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .